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Temple Mount

Walking Like Jesus (Southern Steps of Temple Mount)

Walking Like Jesus (Southern Steps of Temple Mount)


Recently, I was asked to speak on the topic of "Walking Like Jesus". I thought that I would share some of my thoughts from that presentation in a series of blog posts. Since Jesus was raised by a good Jewish family, he undoubtedly made many trips to Jerusalem during His childhood. We read in Luke 2 of one particular trip that His family made.

Now his parents went to Jerusalem every year at the Feast of the Passover. And when he was twelve years old, they went up according to custom. And when the feast was ended, as they were returning, the boy Jesus stayed behind in Jerusalem. His parents did not know it, but supposing him to be in the group they went a day's journey, but then they began to search for him among their relatives and acquaintances, and when they did not find him, they returned to Jerusalem, searching for him. After three days they found him in the temple, sitting among the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions. And all who heard him were amazed at his understanding and his answers. And when his parents saw him, they were astonished. And his mother said to him, “Son, why have you treated us so? Behold, your father and I have been searching for you in great distress.” And he said to them, “Why were you looking for me? Did you not know that I must be in my Father's house?” And they did not understand the saying that he spoke to them. And he went down with them and came to Nazareth and was submissive to them. And his mother treasured up all these things in her heart. - Luke 2:41-51

The picture at the top of this post is of the southern steps leading up to the Temple Mount.

Jesus walked here.

During the first century, King Herod remodeled the temple. It was (and still is) a monumental structure. The entire Temple Mount area covers 39 acres. No doubt, it would have been awe-inspiring to a 12-year old boy from a small village in Galilee.

What can we learn about Jesus' visit here? We can learn that when Jesus walked up those steps, He already knew what His purpose in life was to be. He was here to fulfill His Father's will. Recognizing this, it begs the question: Do you know what your purpose in life is?

We have many distractions in life. Jobs, family, friends, entertainment, etc are all things that occupy our time. And, they often impact the decisions that we need to make. Jesus once said:

Seek ye first the kingdom of God and His righteousness and all these things shall be added to you. - Matthew 6:33.

Notice that Jesus did not tell us not to see other things in life. But, we are to seek God first.

Do you want to walk like Jesus? Then take a walk up the southern steps of the Temple Mount and remember that our purpose in life is to serve God.

Bonus information:

Recently, I have been involved with Appian Media to film videos about the early life of Jesus. While we were in Israel, we filmed some videos on the steps to the Temple Mount that I mentioned above. One of our photographers, Craig Dehut, recorded a small recap video from that day and the personal impact visiting this location had on him.


How would you like to join me next summer on a Bible study tour of Israel? Next June, I will be leading another tour group and I would love for you to join me! Reservations and deposits are already coming in, but we still have plenty of room. This is a first-class tour with every moment filled with something to remember.

We will be visiting Caesarea, Nazareth, Megiddo, the Sea of Galilee, Capernaum, Hazor, Dan, Jezreel, Megiddo, Jericho, Jerusalem, Bethlehem and dozens of other places. This tour is perfect for husbands/wives, parents/children, grandparents/grandchildren, and anyone who is a student of God's Word.

If you are interested, please contact me and go to my website to find out more information!

One Year Ago - A Walk Through the Old City

Our group in front of the Dome of the Rock. NOTE: I am continuing my series of retrospective posts on the our tour one year ago. I invite you to start at the beginning and read through all of them.

A year ago today, we walked through the Old City.

Our day began by entering the Temple Mount area and viewing the city from there. You can imagine the temple as it once stood on this location before it was destroyed by the Romans in 70AD. The beautiful Dome of the Rock now stands out on this platform.

Our tour continued at the Pools of Bethesda and then we walked west on the Via Dolorosa toward the Church of the Holy Sepulture. After eating lunch and doing some shopping in the Christian Quarter, we walked through the Spice Market and arrived at the Jewish Quarter where we visited the Western Wall.

We toured the ancient city of David and then walked through Hezekiah's tunnel. Our day ended on the steps leading up to the southern end of the Temple Mount. Jesus and His family used these same steps about 2,000 years ago.

Tomorrow: We visit the Shephelah.

2015 Israel Poster B

Have you been enjoying these posts on last year's tour? Are you interested in traveling with me this year? Then, I would love to have you join me. Our 12-day tour is scheduled for October 12-23. We will stay one night on the Mediterranean Sea, three nights on the shores of the Sea of Galilee and five nights in beautiful Jerusalem. During the day, we will visit dozens of sites that will enhance your understanding of the land and of the Biblical stories that take place in them. Reservations are coming in, but we still have some availability! This is a first-class tour with many extras thrown in that many Israel tours overlook. If you are interested, I encourage you to read the itinerary and contact me personally for more details.

New Geography Book

book32-1024x804As I have mentioned a number of times in this blog, I love good maps. Along with that, I love good drawings and illustrations that aid others in learning about the Bible. Therefore, I was thrilled when I received Leen and Kathleen Ritmeyer's latest book "Jerusalem - The Temple Mount" in the mail this past week. I learned about the book six months ago, when the publisher put a temporary hold on it. However, due to many factors including the response from avid fans who wanted the book published, the hold was recently lifted. I ordered it immediately and it arrived last week. (Full Disclosure: I was one of those avid fans!)

Readers of Leen Ritmeyer's blog will recognize the amount of interest and knowledge that he has for the area of the Temple Mount. His posts and drawings of that area are fantastic. Visitors to that area now are often confused by what they see and by what they can no longer see. This book helps cut through all of the confusion and creates accurate representations of that famous hill throughout history.

The book contains three primary chapters entitled "A Brief History of the Temple Mount", "A Walk Around the Temple Mount Walls" and "A Tour of the Temple Mount Platform". Each chapter is well illustrated and are easy reads for even those that are not well-versed in the area. I would love to take this book with me the next time I am there and use it as a personal guide as I walk around. (NOTE: Using it on the Temple Mount platform could prove difficult. Outside of the Koran, very few, if any, books are allowed there.)

For those of you who are looking for a great, hand-held book on this area, I highly recommend adding this to your library. My cost was $31, which included shipping from Israel to the United States.

To Leen & Kathleen Ritmeyer: Well done. Thank you for taking the time to do this.

Approaching the City of David

Jerusalem and the City of David This view of the iconic Jerusalem skyline is a staple to many a postcard vendor. However, panning out a bit outside the Ottoman-era walls reveals two important locations. First is the Temple Mount which today features the Al-Aqsa mosque and the Dome of the Rock. And, across the street from the Temple Mount and slightly beneath the brilliant blue rooftop is the Iron Age City of David—the original Jerusalem. This small mound was protected on all sides from approach, except from the north, where an enemy could approach unseen down the ridgeline. Thus, the Temple Mount not only served as a holy place, but also as fortified protection from hostile forces from the north.

Podcast #2 - The Mountains Around Jerusalem

[soundcloud url="" params="auto_play=false&hide_related=false&show_comments=true&show_user=true&show_reposts=false&visual=true" width="100%" height="450" iframe="true" /] In Psalm 125, the psalmist draws a beautiful comparison between the mountains of Jerusalem and the love and protection that God provides to His people. But, in order to fully appreciate what the psalmist means, you have to have an complete understanding of the geography of Jerusalem. That is what we will be discussing on this program.

Podcast Links Jerusalem Post Article concerning 2013 Jerusalem Marathon 2015 Israel Tour

Jerusalem Through the Ages

Jersalem, from the Mount of Olives.  Visible are the Dome of the Rock with the blue domes of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in the distance.Jerusalem is a beautiful city. And, when you stand on top of one of its many hills, you can't help but think of all of the history that has occurred within your field of vision. But, when people ask me to describe Jerusalem to them, I usually just joke and say, "it is confusing". The city has changed so many times over the millennia that it is often difficult to describe to visitors what they are looking at.

Of course, at the center of this confusion is the Temple Mount. A small piece of land that has changed so much that very little of the original hill remains. Over the past couple of weeks, Leen Ritmeyer has written a number of excellent blog posts on the history of the Temple Mount. I encourage all Bible students to read through them. Knowing a little bit more about the city of Jerusalem, and in particular the Temple Mount, will help you understand the Bible stories even more.

So far, he has written posts on the following time periods:

Mount Moriah Jebusite Period Time of Solomon King Hezekiah Ezra and Nehemiah Hellenistic and Hasmonean Periods

I look forward to more posts from Mr. Ritmeyer on this topic.

Up To The Temple

Up To The Temple


Last week, I was teaching a Bible class and reread a passage that I have read a number of times.

He [Jesus] also told this parable to some who trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and treated others with contempt: “Two men went up into the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. The Pharisee, standing by himself, prayed thus: ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other men, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week; I give tithes of all that I get.’ But the tax collector, standing far off, would not even lift up his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast, saying, ‘God, be merciful to me, a sinner!’ I tell you, this man went down to his house justified, rather than the other. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but the one who humbles himself will be exalted.” - Luke 18:9-14

The topography of Jerusalem during the first century consisted of a series of hills and valleys. One of the highest hills in town was the location of the Temple Mount, a huge platform constructed by King Herod. Knowing this topography helps you to understand the exact language Jesus used in telling this parable. He states that two men "went up to the temple" before "going down to their house".


I'm looking forward to leaving for a Bible Study tour of Israel in just a little over a week. I have a group going with me and we have a great schedule planned. You can follow our travels by signing up to receive my blog at or by following us on Facebook.

Jewish People Want To Pray On Temple Mount

Jewish People Want To Pray On Temple Mount


Last week, when I wrote a post about the movie "Jerusalem", I made the comment that if I could use one word to describe Jerusalem, it would be "confusing". I say that sarcastically, of course. The city is absolutely beautiful and every time I go, I find many more new and exciting things to see. However, when I say "confusing", it is usually in response to a question that someone asks when I know all they want is a 20 second response. In reality, it would take several hours to properly explain Jerusalem to someone who has never been there. And even at that, you would have only talked about the city at a very high level.

Case in point: the Washington Post had a story today discussing the desire of some Jewish people who want to publicly pray on the Temple Mount. The Temple Mount area is under the oversight of the Muslim people and prayers by any non-Muslim is strictly forbidden. I encourage you to read this story. It is a very difficult situation for everyone involved. For better or worse, everyone who lives over there is very passionate about their own beliefs. And, when they feel that their beliefs are being threatened, they become defensive. Over time, this defensiveness builds up and finally someone takes action.

This is not unique to Jerusalem, for situations similar to this arise in every country on the planet. However, in Jerusalem, it seems to be different. For instance, here in the United States, we have our own struggles. But they are things that we have been struggling with for a few decades and perhaps a century or two. In Jerusalem, they have been struggling with some of the same problems (or variants of the same problem) for thousands of years.

Will they be successful in their desire to pray on the Temple Mount? Only time will tell. But, it will be interesting to watch.

The picture at the top of the post is of me standing in front of the Dome of the Rock on the Temple Mount. NOTE: If you are reading this post from an email, you might need to click on the title and see the post from a web page to view the picture.

The Latter Rains

The steps on the southern end of the Temple Mount, with the Mount of Olives in the distance.I read a story yesterday of a tour group that was sitting on the southern steps of the Temple Mount in Jerusalem. While they were there, a huge rainstorm came up causing them to retreat to the closest building for cover. As much as the tourists probably did not like it, I am sure that the people living in Israel and the West Bank were very thankful for it. They are in the midst of the period of year of the "latter rains". We read about this a number of times in the Scripture. Here is one example:

Then I will give you the rain for your land in its season, the early rain and the latter rain, that you may gather in your grain, your new wine, and your oil. - Deuteronomy 11:14

The early rains fall in October to November and the latter rains fall in February to March. Between the months of April and October, the country of Israel gets very little, if any, rain. So, the rain that fell in Jerusalem over the weekend might be the last rain that the city sees for a number of months.

Isn't it interesting how the truths found in the Bible are still true?

Herod the Great Exhibit

Even today, you can see hundreds of stones used by Herod the Great to build the massive Temple Mount structure.A few weeks ago, I blogged about the importance of understanding the Herodium. Even though the Herodium is never mentioned in the Bible, learning about it helps you to understand Herod the Great, who was the Roman ruler in Judea at the time of the birth of Jesus. Recently, CNN had a video report of a new exhibit at the Israel Museum in Jerusalem. It is slated to run from February to September of next year and will be dedicated to the history and architecture of Herod the Great. This is fantastic as it will allow us to see many of the artifacts that surround this historically important individual.

Since it is highly unlikely that many of us will be able to travel to Jerusalem to see the exhibit, we'll need to hope that there will be a lot of pictures and/or videos posted on the Internet. As I see information on the exhibit, I will try to pass them along.

Jerusalem In Winter

Jerusalem In Winter


Earlier today, I saw a fantastic picture of Jerusalem with snow on the ground. The picture was credited to Duby Tal (Albatross) and was taken last March. Often, we think of the Bible lands as being an arid place. This is not true. Even places like Jerusalem experience different types of weather as the seasons change. In looking at this picture, I am reminded of a couple of verses in the Book of John.

Now it was the Feast of Dedication in Jerusalem, and it was winter. And Jesus walked in the temple, in Solomon’s porch. - John 10:22,23

Stones of the Temple

In the First Century BC, Herod the Great expanded the Temple Mount in Jerusalem to the size that it is today. He moved thousands of cubic meters of dirt and surrounded the area with walls consisting of huge stones. Once the Temple Mount was complete, he renovated the temple itself so that it dominated the skyline of the city. From nearly anywhere in the city of Jerusalem, you can look up and see the temple. At the Israel Museum in Jerusalem, they have a fantastic model of Jerusalem from the Second Temple period. This model is rather large and takes a few minutes just to walk around it. Of course, we don't know exactly what everything looked like, but we have a pretty good idea based on archaeology and the writings of the time. I have included a picture of the Temple Mount area from the model. As you can tell, the majesty of the temple, especially in relation to the rest of the city, could not be denied.

In Mark 13, Jesus and the apostles were in Jerusalem and were discussing the grandeur of the city.

Then as He went out of the temple, one of His disciples said to Him, “Teacher, see what manner of stones and what buildings are here!” And Jesus answered and said to him, “Do you see these great buildings? Not one stone shall be left upon another, that shall not be thrown down.” - Mark 13:1,2

The disciples were proud of the buildings and the beauty of them. However, Jesus quickly responded by informing them that there would come a time in which this would be destroyed.

The second picture is a picture that I took last September. It is of a First Century street that ran north to south, just below the southwest corner of the Temple Mount in Jerusalem. Between the street and the wall, you will notice huge piles of boulders. These boulders are the stones that were thrown off by the Romans when they destroyed the temple in 70AD.

Jesus used the stones which made up the temple as a reminder to the disciples not to be swept up and founded in the things of this world. Interestingly, 2000 years later, I use these same stones to remind myself that the promises of Jesus come true.

History of the Temple Mount

History of the Temple Mount

Spread out over two trips to Israel, I have spent about ten days in and around Jerusalem. During the time walking around the city, I have tried to understand what I can about the city. However, that is a difficult task. Jerusalem has so much history and has changed so much over the millennia that it makes visualizing the city during different periods of time difficult at best. Yesterday, Leen Ritmeyer wrote a very interesting article about the history of the Temple Mount. It is a perfect example of displaying how hard it is to learn the geographical history of Jerusalem. But that doesn't mean that we shouldn't try. Because understanding the lands of the Bible helps us to understand the Bible itself.

NOTE: The attached picture was taken from the Mount of Olives. It shows the southwestern corner of the Temple Mount with the Al-Asqa mosque in the background.